Four-day Chhath festival ends in Bihar

Patna, Nov 18 (IANS) The four-day Chhath festival ended on Wednesday morning in Bihar with millions of people taking a dip in rivers and other water bodies to offer prayers to the rising sun.

Much to the relief of the state administration, which had made elaborate security arrangements for the festival, Chhath ended peacefully barring a few minor incidents.

Women devotees, known as ‘varti’, ended their 36-hour fast by offering prayers and floating lighted earthen lamps in rivers and other water bodies. They also distributed offerings among family members, relatives and neighbours.

The offerings comprised fruits, home-made sweets like thekua, pedas, pakwan, chawal laddoo (sweets made of rice), raw vegetables and the first crop from the fields.

All the sweets and offerings were arranged in baskets and trays made of bamboo.

Sun, considered the god of energy and life force, is worshipped during Chhath for well being, prosperity and progress.

The devotees had offered prayers to the setting sun on Tuesday evening.

According to officials, more than five lakh people gathered on the banks of the Ganges and Punpur rivers on Friday evening and Saturday morning to offer prayers to the Sun god in Patna and neighbouring districts.

Huge crowds were seen in Gaya, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Purnea and other districts of the state.

The Chhath celebrations began on Sunday when devotees took a dip in the river, a tradition known as ‘nahai khai’.

It was followed by the ritual of ‘kharna’ on Monday when sweet dishes were prepared and distributed among relatives and friends.

The festival, once limited to Bihar, has become popular across the country due to the large scale migration of workers from the state.

Chhath was widely celebrated in metropolitans like Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad and states like Assam, Punjab, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

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